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Create a place where people want to work
Managing people is one of the most feared and most rewarding aspects of running a business. Everyone has stories of nightmarish managers with overbearing tendencies that drove their employees crazy. Additionally, many business owners know the pain of managing workers that are simply unwilling to change or take responsibility for their actions.
The job of manager is to create an environment where people feel safe. Employees can learn and stretch, take pride in owning their responsibilities, and feel motivated to grow and contribute. It’s an environment where the winners are the employee, the customer, and the company. Your job as a manager is to choose consciously and to demonstrate the behavior that will have the most positive effect on your employees.
While most business managers would agree the above definition and description is a highly desirable way to manage people, most couldn’t say that they are actively practicing this philosophy. Practicing this new approach will require you to apply the ideas described here to improve your managerial skills.
When problems occur, most managers seek solutions that focus on the workers involved, e.g., ‘we need better training’, ‘we need more salespeople’, ‘we need better-qualified employees’ and so on. Thinking about problems systemically shifts this view.
Thinking about the problem systemically will force you to focus on the core issues, and will give insight into creating new systems or to improve existing systems. When focus is placed on finding solutions by developing systems to deal with problem areas, you can eliminate the need to assign blame for problems, and move to resolve the immediate problem, and reduce the likelihood of similar occurrences in the future.
Action Item: The next time you experience a frustration in your business, take a moment to answer the following questions:
If you are viewed as being biased or unwilling to look at issues from alternate perspectives you’re greatly inhibiting your employees from openly communicating with you. If your employees feel their ideas are not being seriously considered, they will simply stop making the effort to communicate with you. Encouraging employees to provide ideas for improving the company has long been touted as a way to foster innovation.
In practice, employee contributions are often limited to company meetings and not applied to day-to-day activities. As a manager, you are tasked with making tough decisions and being accountable for the results. Open discussions are not always possible due to time constraints, so in these situations its important to let employees know that you genuinely value their ideas and insights.
Action Item: The next time you are introducing a new project or policy to your employees, begin by setting an agenda, which includes time for suggestions and questions. Additionally, assign an employee the task of recording questions and suggestions.
An E-Myth manager is a great listener. They create calm environments, free of distraction and interruption for employees to bring up issues, commit to solutions, and seek assistance. Managers must listen with the sole purpose of understanding.
Time constraints and manager workloads are convenient excuses for managers to use to short-circuit the listening process and directly impose a solution. This may give the manager the sense that the problem is solved, but the employee may feel confused and grow more emotionally detached from issue. Alternatively, if the manager takes time to listen before offering any solutions, the employee’s experience will be different, and he or she will be more likely to cooperatively seek solutions. The key to active listening is communicating to employee that they have been Heard.
Action Item: At the beginning of your meeting with an employee, start off by asking him or her to close the door, then move your keyboard and mouse to the side of your desk and let them know how much time you have available. Making those simple environmental changes will communicate that to your employee that they have your complete attention, and will be able to work with you to get to a result.
If you practice systemic thinking, fairness, reasonableness and willingness to listen, you will create a more productive and motivating work environment. Not only will you enjoy your role as manager more, but everyone involved will share the benefits.
Learn more at http://www.e-myth.com